Episode 12: The 15th of Sh’abān
With the beginning of the month of Sh’aban we have a tremendous opportunity on the eve of the 15th to prepare for Ramadan. This is also a reminder of the importance of supplication (dua) and charity.
“We have not created mankind and jinn kind except to worship”, 51:56
“Blessed is the person who refines their self, and wretched is the person who doesn’t”, 91:9
“He caused you to dwell on earth and asked you to build it”, 11:61
“I am sending to this earth a vicegerent (khalīfa)”, 2:30
“If my servant asks about Me, indeed I am near”, 2:186
“We are closer to him than his own jugular”, 50:16
“I was only sent to perfect human character”, Ahmad
“whoever doesn’t ask Allah, He is upset”, Ahmad
“Ask Allah and you are certain of the response”, Ahmad
“Allah was and nothing was with Him”, Bukhari
Shafi dua of 15th of shaban accepted dua, Imam al-Shafi in his Um.
“Prophet was most generous and more generous in Ramadan”, Bukhari
“cure your sick with charity”, al-Bayhaqi
Understanding the Muslim Mind
If we could take all of Islamic intellectual history, what sort of patterns and principles could we deduce? More importantly, if we found someone who actually knew all this information, what would they look like, think like, talk like, etc.?
One of the unique features of Islam as an intellectual system is that it possesses a mechanism for renewal and revival within itself. This mechanism is the instrument of ijtihād- independent legal reasoning- that allows a trained and licensed jurist to develop new rulings and judgements for situations that are unprecedented, nuanced, and, in a way, of a troublesome nature. There is a lot of literature within Islamic legal tradition that explains the vast contours of ijtihād. Familiar discussions outline the common set of must-know legal rules and principles, interpretive tools used to unlock meanings within the primary texts, and auxiliary disciplines needed in order for one’s ijtihād to be effective and within the broad limits of orthodoxy. These are standard in any work that discuss the instrument of ijtihād. There are other discussions, however, that one comes across from time to time that shed a little more light on the phycology and mindset behind the person engaging in ijtihad, namely the mujtahid. One interesting description, courtesy of Imam Ghazali (d. 505/1111), is the need for the mujtahid to have vast amounts of creativity. The more creativity a mujtahid has, the more creative thinking they can bring to bear on a particular issue, the better they will be able to come up with right solutions and right answers; especially solutions that will last the test of time. To be creative in this context, therefore, is to think outside the box and dare to be innovative. It is to ask the right questions, not just memorize standard answers.MORE